It’s been a long time since I’ve watched something that left me as excited about art and cinema, storytelling and life as I Love Dick.
In the third episode, “Scenes from a Marriage,” the two unfettered performances: the first, part of a gallery workshop, the second, an adoration.
Episode four, “The Conceptual F**K”: a woman lays down nude to burn in the sun. This is art, it is broadcast, it trends. Then it goes analogue and is challenged, redescribed, dismantled. A shirt it turns out
unmakes a man.
The fifth episode, “A Short History of Weird Girls,” is a startling, discreet gem of pop experimental cinema.
The final moments of the last episode are an apotheosis, both for the series and for the protagonists.
Later, after I’d taken the time to read a bit of the popular press around the show’s release, I wondered if people had missed its depth. Calling it “comedy” seemed wrong to me, but that’s what everyone did. Soon enough I realized that I was the one who was wrong. Dick is full of fools and laughter, and I eventually remembered that laughter—raucous, vulgar, norm-destroying laughter—was characteristic of Bakhtin’s appropriative, novelistic genres.
So a thought: if movies are short stories (or maybe comics), then maybe streamed episodic narratives are novels, empowered with all the freedom and breadth and consuming variety the analogy implies.
I’m working in broad strokes, loud colors, but this is what Dick taught me.